Tuesday, 25 October 2016


A peak of radiation from the planet Dathyna's massive, metal-rich, irregularly variable sun, which probably condensed near a recent supernova, destroyed civilization but produced a killer mutation which exterminated the parent race, appropriated its technology and now threatens the Polesotechnic League.
-copied from here

Sun middle-F type, 5.4 times as luminous as Sol, more white than gold;
less hydrosphere than Earth because solar ultraviolet splits water molecules;
lower mountains and continents;
shallow, tideless, algae-covered ocean over half the flatter surface;
slight axial tilt;
small edge effects;
poles similar to the equator;
steep air pressure gradient;
uplands of ice and rock;
large deserts with dust storms over red rock;
fertile areas with forests, meadows and crops;
the dominant species inhabiting large, partly ruined buildings. 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Lunar Surface In Science Fiction

We are used to reading descriptions of the lunar surface in science fiction:

Verne's characters look down on it;
Wells' land on it;
Heinlein's live there.

However, from his suite in the Hotel Universe, Poul Anderson's Nicholas van Rijn sees an altered landscape. Forcefields hold air, an ozone layer, soaring trees and fountains, great blossoms and lamps on vine-like posts although beyond them are a crater floor, a ringwall, jewel-like stars, the silver Milky Way and the blue and white Earth, all making van Rijn's opulent suite look tawdry.

David Falkayn visits Elfland in Lunograd, a park with grass, arbors, flowers, tall trees and fountains, towers, colonnades, birds, elevated streets, small suns on bronze vines and an Avenue of the Sphinxes although again beyond them are a crater floor, a ringwall, stars in a black sky and Earth with the lights of megalopolises visible on its night side. Although technology makes the Moon inhabitable and even comfortable, the stellar universe remains beyond the works of men.

Going one stage further, Poul Anderson also wrote a short story about a project to terraform the Moon.

On The Moon In The Technic History

In 2057
There is an "Apollo University Communications" in Leyburg on Luna.

In The Twenty Fifth Century
Elfland, Lunograd, is "...a giant bubble of air..." (David Falkayn: Star Trader, p. 333) enclosed in an electromagnetic screen on the Lunar surface.

In Lunograd:

many corridors, including Gagarin, end at Titov Circus, an excavated cylinder with a domed skylight, showing Earth and stars, and thronged encircling balconies where Ivarsen Gems, the Martian Chop House and Serendipity Inc. do business;

a large sports goods store sells vac suits and vehicles and also collapsible boats with gaudy sails for low-weight sailing on the small Lake Leshy;

people float down dropshafts on gee-beams;

on many sublevels, wide, high, grime- and oil-overlaid corridors are crowded with freightways, robotic machines and pedestrians in work coveralls;

there are factories, warehouses, shipping depots and offices and odors of humanity, chemicals and electrical discharges;

hot gusts come from fenced grilles;

the constant vibration of the great engines is deep and almost subliminal;

the Hotel Universe will pay one million Commonwealth credits to any oxygen-breather whom it cannot accommodate and has twice spent more than a million, once to synthesize dietary requirements and once "...to fetch a symbiotic organism from the visitor's home planet." (p. 360)

Selenopolis is in Copernicus.

The capital of the Lunar Federation is, like Lunograd, in Plato.

In The Thirty First Or Thirty Second Century (see here)
Dominic Flandry must spend two weeks in Luna Prime after returning from a mission.

On Satan

We usually read about the deeds of conscious beings but there are dramatic events even in inanimate environments. The rogue planet, Satan, has fallen to just over one astronomical unit from the blue giant, Beta Crucis:

this newly acquired sun, with four times the angular diameter of Sol, "...rage[s] on the horizon..." (David Falkayn: Star Trader, p. 449);

the sky is incandescent;

the roiling clouds are white with steam, black with volcanic smoke or gray but lightning-lit;

terrible winds, rain, Satan-quakes and floods lash stony plains;

glacial melt cascades from mountain flanks;

vapor spreads over half a continent, becoming mist in the chill air, but is cut by a tornado, then dispersed by gales;

island-sized icebergs, concealed by monstrous waves, collide and are destroyed;

the turbulent upper atmosphere rocks the descending spaceship - clamor and thunderstorms;

Falkayn, naming the planet, is interrupted by "...blindness and racket..." (p. 450);

tropical afternoons have clear skies followed by violent weather with wind velocities over 500 kph and rising;

the antarctic has heavy rain and frequent supersqualls;

a strong front from the cold north preserves comparative atmospheric tranquility;

Muddlin' Through lands near the arctic circle on an unflooded stable northern continent shortly before dawn;

Falkayn sees dark rock, mountain crags, white glaciers, clear stars, streaking meteors and dancing aurora;

the atmosphere is unbreathable and minus 75 degrees Celsius;

the ground is below minus 200 and will take years to warm;

conditions will always vary, causing chaotic weather;

leaving the ship, Falkayn stands not on a new world but on an old world reborn;

cold and stellar radiation mean that he can spend only half an hour outside;

when he has collected data and samples and started back, a cliff explodes and a torrent of liquids and solids engulfs him.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Suleiman II

I am reading about the planet Suleiman but finding that I have posted about it before. See here. However, I have also found some previously unnoticed details:

local gravity is 40% greater than Terrestrial although trading post staff are protected inside their compound's forcefield;

the air recycler in Dalmady's airsuit must cope with the hydrogen that seeps through everything (in "A Little Knowledge," the problem is helium seeping through everything);

the planetary core is overlaid by ice mixed with rock and  "...penetrated by tilted metal-poor strata." (The Van Rijn Method, p. 527);

because the planetary radius is 17,000 kilometers, Dalmady cannot discern the horizon of the ammonia sea through the red mist;

the city has an elaborate pattern but no streets;

the culture is fireless and neolithic;

most traffic is pedestrian;

animals, draught or ridden, are vaguely dinosaur-like;

Dalmady hears wind, waves, feet and wagons;

Suleimanites do not talk casually but do communicate continually by gesture, fur ripples and scents;

their year equals twelve and a half Terrestrial;

Suleimanites provide labor, saving the cost of automatic machinery, and are becoming dependent on metal, plastic and energy-cell trade goods.